Warning signs planned for dam where teens died

EDINBURGH, Ind. - Few people have been swimming or fishing around a small dam on a central Indiana river where a swimming accident killed two teenagers and badly injured another last month.

Local officials are also talking about putting up signs to warn people about the swirling water that forms with the Big Blue River is high around the dam at Edinburgh.

In a typical summer, many people would swim downstream of the dam or wade out to sandbars to fish. But the accident is fresh in people's minds and visitors are often at the makeshift memorials, said Nancy Jessie, who works at a nearby bait shop.

"No one swims down there. Very few people fish, but they do go down, and they'll wade across, and they'll fish from the other side," Jessie told the Daily Journal. "If that (the accident) didn't happen, there would be people down there swimming."

Jason Moran, 17, and Michael Chadbourne, 16, died trying to rescue Sarah McLevish, a 16-year-old fellow student at Franklin Community High School, after she was swept over the dam on June 6. McLevish is still hospitalized with brain injuries.

The river was at flood stage the day of the accident, pulling objects toward the dam where the water spilling over pushes them under the surface.

Authorities can't keep people out of the river since it is a public waterway, state conservation Officer Jet Quillen said.

Edinburgh Town Council President Ron Hoffman said warning signs are being planned at the dam about 30 miles south of Indianapolis.

The town owns the dam, which was built to power a nearby grist mill that no longer exists, and has a town ordinance that anyone walking on it could be fined, Hoffman said. The properties close to the dam -- including a bait shop, homes and an apartment complex -- are private property, and town officials will be seeking permission from the property owners to put up the warning signs.

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